UK-based community energy organisation Forum for the Future has launched PowerPaired, a new online matchmaking platform for community energy that it says will make it easier for groups to find projects and work with asset owners to develop new projects.
The platform is expected to help the UK in not just decarbonising but also democratising its energy system – making it cleaner and fairer.
The project has been funded by the Friends Provident Foundation, the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Despite recent policy changes seeing supporting policy for community-owned renewables deteriorate, such as the scrapping of Britain’s feed-in tariff, the withdrawal of tax incentives for investment and changes to the planning framework for getting wind developments off the ground, the project has reached maturity, and is being launched with over 100 assets, ranging from schools and churches to homeless shelters offered to community energy groups across the UK.
The National Grid is just one of the asset owners alongside organisations such as Oldham Council, Suffolk County Council, Aster Homes and St Mungos Charity who have listed their land and buildings on the platform.
70 National Grid substations are listed as potentially viable sites for hosting community-owned renewables projects and the energy giant is calling out for community energy groups to sign up to PowerPaired and work with them to explore potential projects.
In becoming involved in the project, Nicky Conway, Sustainability Manager at National Grid, said: “National Grid believes that community-owned renewable energy is a key part of the puzzle when it comes to empowering consumers to take more control over how their energy is generated and used and reducing carbon emissions.
“We encourage local community groups to sign up to the PowerPaired platform so we can start to explore new projects together, and asset owners to register their own sites so we can really start seeing more movement in this space.”
“The platform is free to use and, alongside the matchmaking tool, the PowerPaired website contains useful information to help asset owners to better understand what community energy is, the potential benefits of working with a group and how a partnership might work in practice.”
To catalyse the next wave of community energy projects in the UK, Forum for the Future are urging other asset owners interested in exploring the benefits of working in partnership with a community energy group to develop renewable energy on their assets to sign up to PowerPaired.
According to a recent press release, “It would, for example, be fantastic to see Local Authorities who have declared climate emergencies using the platform to offer up their assets to their local communities as a practical response to the emergency.”